2020 Beauty Gift Guides? Yawn

Does the beauty world really need another gift guide? You can only see the same palettes recommended so many times. Maybe its just 2020 in general, maybe its my own exhaustion and short fuse, but even bloggers and influencers who I like have shared gift guide content that I, personally, found exasperating this year. (I still like the content creators. They’re doing their jobs; in many cases, this sort of thing is their main income stream).

So many gift guides are just wish lists for the blogger, anyway – depending on their stature and time in the influencing trenches, they might share wildly out-of-touch picks.

2020 Beauty Gift Guides – Pfft

I’m trying to rein in my cynicism (lol right) and what I recognize to be a grinch-like attitude, but frankly, it is challenging:

  • On one hand the world is a mess; do we really need a $40 lip balm recommendation, Janet?
  • On the other, while I still agree that a $40 lip balm is fucking absurd and indeed borderline offensive, maybe we do need some frivolity to lift our spirits.

My opinion seems to change by the hour on that.

I’m not without empathy, though. If you are participating in some gift-giving this year and by some insanity you have yet to finish your holiday shopping for someone with an appetite for beauty frivolity, might I offer the following suggestions:

If your loved one:

  • is fond of a particular local salon or spa, get a gift card for them to use at that service provider once we can safely and responsibly return to consuming those services. This isn’t an impersonal cop-out; this does triple duty of 1) the obvious gift-giving, 2) giving your loved-one something nice to look forward to when we can reclaim a semblance of safety, and 3) provides that business much-needed cashflow. I haven’t felt comfortable visiting my salon during all this (service areas are a bit small), but I don’t want them to go out of business. You can probably pull this off in time, even.
  • is brave or adventurous enough to attempt (or has been attempting) home haircuts – consider a pair of shears. As I’ve learned from doing my own trims this year, decent pair of shears (scissors) makes the process go a lot nicer. Is it exciting? Not necessarily, but if you want to get all Marie Kondo about it, they spark joy because they make the job easier to execute well…ish. If not shears, there’s something for everyone: clippers, or, apparently George Clooney has been cutting his hair with a Flowbee for almost as long as I’ve been alive. Imagine a world where that was the strangest thing we’d heard this year.
  • likes having nice nails and hasn’t already taken the plunge into DIY gel land, oh, god, get them some nail supplies! Gel polish is user-friendly and more accessible than ever. If they like extensions/enhancements, dual-forms and polygel couldn’t be easier to use. Lamps, electric files, color, consumables (like gel cleanser?! lolol jk – but files, cleanup tools, etc).
  • is creative/crafty and might enjoy things like soap-making, that’s a really cool way to give them control over some aspect of their beauty/grooming products. Not only is it neat to play with, is it skill development! I’ve had good luck with Bramble Berry as a starting resource. Anything in this realm will be late, but in a year in which even things purchased, “in time,” will be late – it will be okay.

If you needed it, I hope this non-gift-guide was useful to you.

2016 Holiday Gift Guide

With Thanksgiving coming up, I’m adjusting my posting schedule for the upcoming week. There will be this post (Saturday evening), the normal Monday post, and the normal Wednesday post, but no Friday post.
We’re officially in holiday shopping season! In the interests of self-preservation, I completed my holiday shopping a month-and-a-half ago. Here’s the Beauty Skeptic 2016 Holiday Gift Guide for those of you still in the thick of it.

Before You Shop


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If there’s a promo code, I find it. That said, finding them does take time; usually several websites and then time to apply them to check for validity. Honey makes the process easier via a browser plugin that auto-applies the best-available promo codes for you. It operates via user submissions, so you can add your promo code finds to help the community if you’re so inclined.

It’s also free, and you can sign up hereDisclosure – Like eBates, I get a small referral credit if you sign up with that link. Whether or not you sign up with that link, I use and recommend it myself.



biore aqua rich watery essence

It isn’t often that you can give the gift of health. I love sunscreen as a skincare gift particularly for those who may be a bit lax with their skin. If you’re interested in prestige options, Coola apparently makes some good ones; that said, when it comes to facial sunscreen I can’t be talked off the Biore AQUA Rich ($9) ledge. It’s SPF 50, suitable for all skin types, and not something you can just grab off the shelf in CVS or Target…but even being imported, it is really inexpensive!

Everyone can benefit from some Vitamin C, but especially if your recipient has expressed anti-aging concerns, this is a good pick. This duo from Ole Henriksen ($25) is a cute gift that can boost collagen production and make the skin appear more radiant.


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2015 Holiday Gift Guide – Under 50

If you’re looking to spend up to $50 on beauty gifts, I’m keeping the gift guides going – here are some gift ideas in the Under $50 range.

Urban Decay All Nighter Makeup Setting Spray Duo, $39

Normally $30 for one, this is a pair of full-sized UD All Nighter Makeup Setting Spray. I picked up one of these and split it with a friend during Sephora’s VIB sale, but still $39 for two is a great price. Anyone who needs their makeup to last a little longer (who doesn’t?) can benefit from this.


Burberry Kisses Lipstick, $33

Want to give a little luxe? Britain’s iconic, classic luxury brand has an outstanding makeup line. The chic packaging of the product is pretty enough, but this particular lipstick comes in 28 shades. All you need to do is decide to get a color your recipient will wear and enjoy all the time, or something more preferable for special occasions.



LORAC PRO and PRO 2, $42 each

The LORAC PRO was my first palette, and then I purchased, swatched, and reviewed the LORAC PRO Palette 2 when it came out. From the standpoint of owning both, they would both make great gifts for someone starting out or who has an established collection.

More of the 2015 Holiday Gift Guide – Under $50 after the jump

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